Most people misunderstand the difference between coping with grief and moving on. There is a real fear of feeling a semblance of happiness or being able to function in everyday life because it could come across as if we are over the death of our loved one.
The truth is - being able to smile, to feel happiness, or being able to function is just a way to cope. It signifies that grief is now a part of life as we know it. It may be invisible to the outside world, but grief is very much felt. We can’t outrun grief but we can learn to navigate it.
How can you live with grief?
In the first few months, you may feel the pressure to suppress your emotions, but know that it will only make you feel worse. Feel whatever you want to feel. If you have to cry just cry. You never know what can trigger the flood of emotions. It can be a song, a photo, a coffee shop, or a favorite shirt. In between the sudden flood of pain, there is still a lot of life to be lived. Let yourself grieve.
Grief is a necessary release of emotions and can help relieve some pressure you might be under. Expressing your emotions, understanding them, and getting the right support will let you put your feelings into perspective and allow you to heal.
How can you release grief?
Talking about how you feel can be very helpful. If you are feeling up to it, talk about your feelings with a trusted friend, family member, or therapist. Putting your feelings and experiences into words can help make it easier to understand and deal with them. If the person you choose to talk to also experienced the loss of a loved one, maybe they will be able to share some wisdom on how to cope with grief.
But, what if you are uncomfortable with talking about your feelings? You can choose to write them down. Writing what happened and how you felt about what happened can help you see things better and to clear up any possible misunderstandings.
What are some practical ways to cope with grief?
When grieving, there is a tendency to want to isolate or have a feeling of being disconnected from reality. It is not uncommon to feel like the days are starting to melt together and to lose the concept of time. Many stop responding to messages, stop cleaning their homes, or they start to mindlessly binge watch TV shows to distract themselves from feeling pain. It is during these times that caring for oneself can be challenging. Here are some practical tips on how you can care for yourself while coping with grief:
Rely on friends and family.
Allow others to help you if they offer to do so and admit when you really need assistance. It may be their way of showing you how much they care about you when they can’t find the right words to offer comfort.
Pay attention to your health.
Being in grief can wear you out. Allow your body to rest, to get stronger through exercise, and to be given proper nutrition with healthy meals.
Avoid making major decisions.
Wait for sometime before deciding to sell homes, getting remarried, or changing jobs. Give yourself some time to think clearly before settling on a decision.
Be patient with yourself.
Accept that grief and bereavement is a process. Some days you will feel okay and others you will feel like you can’t function. It won’t always feel horrible. Hold on to that hope.
Be patient with others.
Grief can be awkward for other people. They might not know what to say or they may say the wrong thing. Try to make allowances for them.
Watch your alcohol and drug intake.
Alcohol and medication are often used to numb feelings of pain and loneliness. Any relief you get from these are temporary. Remember that medication should only be used under doctor’s supervision and that alcohol can be addictive.
Get into a routine.
Push yourself to get back to work, to go to the grocery, to go to school, because the structure of a normal routine can do you a lot of good. Keep busy with self-enriching hobbies or passions.
Try not to be overcome by anxiety.
You might find yourself worrying and trying to get everything done at the same time. Take it one day at a time. Delegate some responsibilities to trusted friends and family. If you need help with funeral arrangements, call a reputable funeral home like Roupp Funeral Home for bereavement services. We’re here to help.
If you are interested in receiving grief support, you can visit Roupp Funeral Home website for access to grief support links. We’ve partnered with GriefShare and other local and virtual programs to get you the help you need.
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